Gay Couples Forced to Flee US Over Immigration Law
Posted on June 10, 2009
Filed Under Uncategorized
An estimated 36,000 Americans face a choice — separate or move abroad — because they can’t secure green cards for their partners like heterosexual spouses can., said U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-NY, citing information from the advocacy group Immigration Equality.
Bills have been introduced in Congress to treat same-sex partners like heterosexual spouses for the purposes of immigration but are likely to face a strong fight, both from gay marriage opponents and anti-immigration groups. The 1996 Defense of Marriage Act prevents immigration officials from recognizing gay marriages, even from states where they are now legal.
Proponents see the issue as a basic rights question, and Steve Ralls, a spokesman for Immigration Equality, said he believes the best chance for the legislation is as part of a larger immigration bill.
But other immigration advocates want to keep the issues separate, fearful of bogging down an already tough fight. Kevin Appleby, migration policy director for U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said the push for same-sex partners in immigration is about getting recognition in federal law for gay marriage — which he opposes.
”It’s an unholy marriage of the immigration debate and the same-sex marriage debate,” he said. ”It’s very combustible.”
Lown’s decision last month brought the issue to an unlikely place, a town of 90,000 where ranchers and roughnecks from the vast open lands come to do their banking and send their kids to the regional state college. The town’s only other recent brush with national fame came last year when it housed the hundreds of children taken from a polygamist sect’s ranch in nearby Eldorado.
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